Zayn Malik Pens Letter to British Prime Minister About Free School Meals: 'I Know What That Shame Feels Like'

The musician called on Prime Minister Rushi Sunak to ensure all kids living in poverty get free school lunches.

Zayn Malik is calling on British Prime Minister Rushi Sunak to allocate funds for children in need. In an open letter, the 29-year-old musician called attention to the students who are from underserved communities that cannot afford school lunches, and asked the head of the U.K. to act on their behalf. 

The “Vibez” singer shared the letter on his Instagram account. “No child should have to suffer the trauma and stigma of hunger & poverty. We want every child to grow up healthy to lead productive lives. I am calling on @10DowningStreet to expand #FreeSchoolMeals to every child in poverty in England,” he wrote next to a copy of the letter.  

In the letter, the "PillowTalk" singer asks for the prime minister’s help in ensuring that "no child living in poverty misses out on a hot nutritious meal at school especially since that school meal may be the only hot meal they receive all day." 

Malik addressed the four million children who live in homes that have been experiencing food poverty, due to the cost-of-living crisis in the United Kingdom. Malik noted that there are 800,000 children in England who do not get a hot meal as a result of not qualifying for the free meal program.  

The singer shared that the kids who are aren’t able to access the program "are suffering from lack of concentration, some even resorting to stealing food from school canteens because they are so hungry but can’t afford to buy lunch. They are also feeling shame which is directly impacting their physical and mental health," he wrote. 

For Malik, the situation is personal as he shared that he lived the same life, as a young child, and had to face the embarrassment of being hungry at school. 

"I know what that shame feels like, I have seen it first-hand, as growing up in Bradford, I relied on Free School Meals," he wrote. "I personally experienced the stigma surrounding food insecurity. My hope is that in writing this letter we can all ensure that no child ever has to experience this hunger and stigma again as my experience is not unique; it is a struggle that many children in England are sadly going through right now."

Malik ended his letter urging the prime minister to offer monetary government support toward the Free School Meal program by adding it to the budget.

Malik and his ex-girlfriend, Gigi Hadid, welcomed their daughter, Khai, in 2020. Shortly after the birth of his daughter, Malik opened up about fatherhood and the adjustment that came with his baby girl’s birth. 

During a 2021 interview with Valentine in the Morning, the “She” singer admitted that he was just "doing my own thing [and] just writing, recording, making music," prior to the birth of his daughter. 

However, when his daughter was born, his focus shifted.  

"I was just very focused on my career. I had time for my relationship too, but it was still solely about me," he shared. "The fact that she has been so easy to kind of just adjust to, it’s been surprising to me because I just love spending my days with her, hanging out with her, and just doing really relaxing and chill stuff with her."